Alan Turing

For those who enjoy playing with Turing modules, this is about the man himself

So has anyone decoded the message encrypted in the stream of numbers read out by Peaks in numbers station mode yet? :wink:

Haven’t read it, but I can highly recommend the recently-released file The Imitation Game


I’d like to point out that we “thanked” Alan Turing for all his great work by prosecuting him for being gay, injecting him with diethylstilbestrol (causing impotence and breast growth) as a punishment, taking away his security clearance thereby preventing him from doing his work, and by driving him to commit suicide.

And it took until only five years ago for anything remotely resembling an official apology.

Please consider this the next time you’re about to crack any kind of “gay joke”.

I don’t think anyone here was about to do something like that ?

I know. That was a general remark.

If you don’t have time to read a whole book, “this” blog post is a good, fragmentary, read about certain aspects of the works of Turing. It is written as a reaction to what the author thinks is unjustful hagiography of Turing, but without diminishing his contribution to mathematics. The biography which is mentioned in the blog post is very good too.

It wasn’t even 70 years ago Turing was mistreated by the state in such a forceful way. Really depressing.

Edit: Whyy can’t I create a clickable url, whhyyy :’(

He’s an angry man, clearly…
The Daily Mail tends to have that effect on people in the UK, though…


@thhmas: There’s no http:// in your URL.


Actually the angry writer raises a few valid points if you want to be correct - about the history of computers, how others too cracked the Enigma like the Polish people mentioned - along with people like Arne Beurling who cracked the advanced Geheimfernschreiber allowing the Swedish authorities to gain beforehand knowledge of Operation Barbarossa for instance.

Still, that said - Alan Turing was a genius deserving all the recognition he got, tragically after a too early death due to horrible mistreatment.

That article is not about Turing, but about a bullshit article about Turing that appeared in a bullshit newspaper. It’s essentially just your basic rant about how journalists don’t understand how stuff works which is kinda obvious.

Also, it has really sleazy clickbait ads (see attachment below) which makes it hard to take it remotely seriously.

Sure, other people also deserve credit, but Turing surely was one of the great contributors.

Whoa! Easy there!

I know that he was critiquing the very dumbed-down original article, but I didn’t see the click-bait as the computers round here run Ad-block plus, No-script and Ghostery plus a big fat hosts file. I tend to get more of the click-bait BS in Facebook on the iPad, but you’ll learn to ignore it. Wonder if something ad-free like Ello might take off?

It’s kind of funny that lots of News corp papers are notoriously bad and this is know way beyond the borders of their home countries, British tabloids are infamous, deservedly so.

@Jojjelito: I tried that at first, but then I thought that maybe the “:” in “http://” screwed things up, so I removed it. Sigh. Outsmarted by a discussion forum interface…

t2k: The guy who has the blog is very well-informed in the hist sci field of science and I don't think the text just contains ranting, but also raises a number of valid points, asJojjelito points out. (If I was writing something similar I would however not, well, rant that extensively.) In addition, stating that there are other contributors to a discovery/project/cause/etc and a context which people act in does not mean that there are no geniuses. (Had no idea about the annoying ads though, probably since I usually use my RSS reader.)

No offense, but being well informed and being a total dick are not exactly mutually exclusive.

Sadly there are fewer people that are the total opposite - absolutely clueless but lovely - than the ones you describe

@t2k: Cool, in general, I agree.

@thhmas I looked at the site again, but this person not only admits to “have no formal qualifications and have the world’s worst publication record”, but also doesn’t even bothers to write under their own name. How the hell do you expect me to take that even remotely seriously?

To me, this just looks like yet another case where someone who don’t want to admit they hate gay people or woman or people of color, immediately comments with a “yes, that’s nice, but, actually, did you know…” in an effort to discredit the achievements of the person they don’t like their gender or sexual orientation or skin color of.

A Man From The Future an evocation of the life and work of Alan Turing written by Tennant and Lowe with biographer Andrew Hodges, with orchestrations by Sven Helbig. Performed by Pet Shop Boys, the BBC Concert Orchestra and the BBC Singers and narrated by Juliet Stevenson.

That. Is. Nice. :slight_smile:

@t2k: Interesting discovery. I was just thinking about what could have got you that worked up, but if that writer was hiding behind a pen name, like not just on a forum but actually spouting off opinions then it is indeed a… Hating and putting down other people is way uncool and seriously unattractive, but I think that all of us deal with our prejudice and preconceptions, some less successful than others :frowning:

Choice song by Lowe/Tennant! They have their moments.

> How the hell do you expect me to take that even remotely seriously?

I don’t expect you to do anything, but I guess I can explain why I thought the link was worth a read:

  • As stated above, I think it contains good and well-grounded points, even though I think the level of ranting is a bit too high. I don’t see anything homophobic (or borderline homophobic) in the text either, and you find sentences like:

“[Turing] would definitely be one of my heroes if I went in for them.”

“I’m not going to discuss [the mistreatment due to his homosexuality] here other than to say that it’s a very black mark against my country and my countrymen.”

Sure, you could interpret this as just a way of disarming critisism like yours above, but I see no reason why we shouldn’t take the authors word for it, since…

  • I have read the blog during a number of years and think I have a relatively good picture of who the person who writes on it is. His knowledge in science and history and the combination of it is, as far as I can tell, very good. I’m not that into the history of computing, but have a rather good insight in research going on in midieval and early modern science, and what the blog author is writing on that subject is often in line with what the biggest (academic) authorities in the field says (or at least what authorities of one of the different schools says). In addition I have never seen anything being written there which seems to form a pattern och homophobia/sexism/racism/etc. If so, I would definitely not have posted that link here or anywhere else, since I regard myself as being an hbtq friend and feminist.

However, there IS a pattern in the posts on that blog and in the anger expressed there, even though I don’t think it is homophobia or such things. In history (the academic discipline that is) there is this centuries old conflict between two ways of looking at what changes history: Individuals or big structrural stuff (think Marx). I’m oversimplifying but the blog author often provides the latter perspective, as a reaction towards what he apprehends as a general trend in society towards the former (for instance by talking about heroes in science, “the father of X”, etc). That is what I think his motive is, and it is something you can agree or not agree on, but it is not homophobia (the person he seems to “bring down to earth” the most is Galileo, for instance).

Oh well. Got to get my one year old to sleep now, but I think I have explained what I think as clearly as possible.